Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Saturday 29 December 2012

(They say it's my) Birthday

(Oops! - this pictures was taken five years ago -- and Oops!:  it is the Birthday table of our Son :-) 

Dear You,
thank you for your sweet card! Yes, today, 29th of December, is my Birthday, and I'm happy: I enjoy getting older, though the Jugendwahn/youthmania doesn't make it easy to say "Thank you, but I'm fine" to all these absurd offers from people that have sworn the Hippocratic oath(!) - how much Botox you must have in your brain to believe that this poison will just stay there in the little wrinkle it was injected to and not creep into other parts of your body? The Hiyppocraites shun the correct label botulinum toxin - one of the most dangerous bioweapons, and in Germany under the War Weapon's Control Act; no joke. 
I am glad to be able to say: 
I am happy to be as I am, and I am looking forward to grow (though not around my hips :-). 
I am ready - and willing - for whatever life throws up in the grand mystery, the great adventure of my ongoing life. 
To my 'Facebook friends' who are always asking for my date of birth I quote dear Oscar W.:
 "One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell you anything." 
So I keep my mouth shut (without an artificial pout), smile, do my sit ups, am happy and grateful and swear to the most convincing formula for staying young: besides caring for oneself as good as possible the best is being really interested in something outside of ones Own Little Self. 
And enjoy life: YES - we're going to a party, party!!! 


Tuesday 25 December 2012

Christmas Day

Dear You, 
it's really lovely in Berlin at the moment: the streets are empty and still (the weather turned from -6°C + snow en masse two days before to mild 8°C -  - so everybody is a bit languid). 
Christmas Eve is over - presents are unpacked, joy (and astonishment, sometimes) hold on, and on Christmas Day only the Hausfrau bustles around (now: take that with a grain of salt - quite a few men lend a helping hand  in the kitchen nowadays, though  not all of them as Naked Chefs. But my neighbour on the second floor, the artist, is: I cannot ignore him - and why should I, he looks gorgeous - doing a Jamie Oliver. All the year round. Despises curtains and dressing gowns). 
Ah - by the way: did I mention that finally I got those roller-blinds? And high time it was, with all those light shows in the windows over the street - funny to look at for five minutes, unnerving after an hour of 'blink!!!blink!!! flash!!!twinkle!!!' (At this time I always read Charlotte McLeod's "Rest You Merry" again,  with Professor Shandy pressed to decorate his house - and then he showers it with plastic reindeers, flashing lights and an amplifier blaring "All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" - and then escapes to sea...)
A week ago a craftsman had been here, to measure the very high windows, and when I asked him if he favoured a cup of coffee, he said: "Don't think me impolite - but: what sort of coffee?" "Nespresso". "Well - then I'm glad to accept." We sat on the sofa, and he gave me a lot of tips for the best doner kebab in Berlin - and the second best, quite near, when the row for the first would be too long - and named a very good Thai restaurant (imagine: just one street further afar! And so on). After a week came another craftsman with the roller-blinds and fixed them. When we sat with a cup of coffee on the sofa, he asked apologetically: "How long have you been waiting for the date to fix them?" "Well, I ordered them last week." "WHAT??? Other people wait six weeks, minimum." So I was - very - lucky :-) 
Now: the shops are closed, people are sated, the weather is bleak. 
If I wouldn't know what to do, I could just sit down and study how to use and prepare my new Kindle. 
But we have such a lot to do... for example: just look at the Christmas tree - the Kcandles - and enjoy it. 
Hope you had a beautiful Christmas too! 

Sunday 9 December 2012


Dear You,
TOO LONG!, you complained. Yes, I'm sorry: the last letter was TOO LONG... Mea culpa. 
And I cannot blame Facebook or Twitter or whatsoever that it reduced the human attention span (TOO quick you get TOO many of Tweets and posts and whatsoever). Imagine your name were Elizabeth von Arnim and you sat somewhere far away in a bare German landscape - you would have jubilated to get a long letter from me, but here? In Blogland? Thank you, but thank you very much. 
Yes: I changed my blog title again - I just wasn't happy with "Britta's Letters from Berlin". Looked for a better one. 
And remembered Son's question when I thought about buying a new car, (my - realistic - dream car is a newer Jag, the car above would demand too much to give up for it). He asked: "If not now, then when?"
To be honest, I was slightly offended at first. But he is absolutely right!
If I have a dream, or you have a dream (as I hope you have!) we should not wait a few decades until we try to fulfill it. They might take away our driver's license then :-)  So: the Jaguar will be bought in spring (though it will not be Morse's MK II, sorry). 
Ah: and I took my Greta Garbo-glasses off again (though I had a very good reason - on Facebook - to put them on, figuratively)  - and returned to use a photo of me, and my real name (though 'Hill' is the utterly correct translation). 
So - that's it (in a nutshell - more walnut than hazelnut, but it takes time to reform). 
Bear with me! 
Yours (snowbound)     Britta 

Friday 7 December 2012

Lagerfeld's Photo Exhibition 'The Little Black Jacket'

Britta Hill
Dear You
The Little Black Dress, they say, fits in everywhere (until one summer day in East End you feel slightly overdressed); accentuates the personality of the woman and not of the dress (until someone says: "Oh, you have been there too?"); Black is so practical (until you pick the blonde hairs from it); Black becomes everybody (until someone says: "You look so pale today"). 
Black is beautiful. 
And now we have an exhibition in Berlin, 'The Little Black Jacket', an homage of Karl Lagerfeld to Coco Chanel, who in 1954 also invented the famous black Tweed-jacket. 
It shows brilliantly what fashion is about: while today the Jacket seems almost staid, back then it was daring: cut straight, without collar, rep on tweed - that was a breach of style (it was a time in which fashion rules were still strict and complicated - "no really elegant woman wears an alligator handbag after 5 p.m.", wrote Mme Dariaux even in 1964). 
Almost staidly - except one does something with it. And that works - it is proved by the 113 actors and models who Lagerfeld photographed in this jacket. You can wear it quite virtuously: 

but you can also boldly change it with a pair of scissors: 

What does Husband (an expert on exhibitions) say to the formal presentation? 

"Sorry - the hanging is unimaginative. It is more a display (as in shop windows) than an exhibition: by stringing together the exhibits these are not related. Exhibits which are put into the room and not only 'along a wall' create corporeity and thus press the spectator to search his own way and so make his own discoveries, instead of - as here - only pace off the given front." (Hans-Otto  Huegel) 
               Looking at the photos one notices that the gaze of the models, though often directed at the spectator, goes through him - it is a 'posing', the model very seldom makes contact with the spectator. (Here I remember a quote of Lagerfeld: "The girl is not selling her private life, but her image.") Most consequently we see this on the photo of Anna Wintour:

(Funny: three students at my side were discussing that a) they immediately had recognized who was in that photo, and b) regardless of how big a crowd there would be, they would be able to recognize - from behind! - the great Anna Wintour everywhereYou bet!) 
Anyhow: ordinary mortals have to bent down deeply if they want to decipher name and profession under the photos. 
Nothing more is given - you might see it as a flaw of the exhibition, but I think I can detect Karl's mocking smile about the 'avarage spectator' in it: as in luxury labels it stresses very subtly that 'one keeps to oneselves' - the connaisseur knows anyhow...  
And: "Package is everything". Choose the deepest subway-tunnel (as they did) - clad it in black, with a few very elegantly dressed body guards at the entrance (why? there hung only prints, not even real photographs) and with a few beautiful lights the 'rather dark' becomes instantly much more distinguished. 

Britta Huegel
Though Mme Dariaux wrote a word of warning in her charming book 'A Guide to Elegance': "A really elegant woman never wears black in the morning." 
Maybe that's why the exhibitions opens at 11 a.m. 

(until 14 December in Berlin, Eventlocation U3 Bahnhof&Tunnel, Potsdamer Platz 1)